When To Take A Pregnancy Test

When To Take A Pregnancy Test

If you suspect you may be pregnant, you’ll likely want to know when to take a pregnancy test.

Firstly, it’s important to understand how a pregnancy test works, so you can get the most accurate result from the test.

From the very beginning of your pregnancy, the fetus produces a hormone called hCG, or, human Chorionic Gondotrophin.

This hormone can be detected in your urine if you are pregnant. The levels of hCG increase as your pregnancy progresses, peaking at around 8-11 weeks, before dropping to a lower level at 12 and 16 weeks.

Some pregnancy test kits can detect hCG levels as low as 10 or 25mIU/ml. If you’re pregnant, at 10 days past ovulation (DPO) you may be able to detect around 25mIU. At 12 days past ovulation, you should be able to detect around 50mIU and at 14 days past ovulation, 100mIU.

Are Pregnancy Tests Accurate?

Many home pregnancy tests claim to be over 99% accurate when taken on the first day of the missed period or earlier. However a study found that some pregnancy tests have poorer detection limits for H-hCG (which is what is found in early pregnancy urine) than others. It’s more likely you will get a false negative than a false positive, due to a faulty test or having hormone levels too low to be detected.

When To Take A Pregnancy Test

So, when to take a pregnancy test? As mentioned above, pregnancy test kits are designed to detect levels of hCG produced by your body if you are pregnant. Your body may be producing hCG before your period is due, however it’s ideal to test on the first day of your missed period.

If you test earlier than the first day of your missed period, you may indeed receive a positive result. But it’s also more likely that you may end up with an inaccurate result. The test may come up negative if your hCG levels are not yet high enough to detect the pregnancy. On the other hand, it may show a positive result and not develop into a true pregnancy, due to the incidence of spontaneous miscarriage. These can occur before your period is due, and normally you would be none the wiser.

Is It True That It’s Best To Test In The Morning?

The pregnancy hormone hCG is usually at it’s highest levels early in the morning, so especially if you are early in your pregnancy, this is when it is the best time to test. It is important to note that excessive fluid intake before taking the pregnancy test can actually dilute hCG and this can make the result hard to read.

It’s always best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions included with the test, as the procedure can vary and affect your result if not done properly.

As soon as you have taken the test out of the packet, avoid touching the absorbent pad. There are normally two ways you can perform the test, midstream or in a cup. If you prefer to test midstream, all you need to do is hold the test almost vertically and pass it through a weak stream of urine, making sure you avoid water or urine being splashed on the device before starting the test.

If you prefer to use the cup method, urinate into a clean, dry container and dip the absorbent pad into the urine for 3-5 seconds. You do not completely immerse the absorbent pad, 1cm is sufficient.

I Am Taking Medication; Will This Have Any Affect On The Results?

If you are taking antibiotics, the contraceptive pill, or painkillers, this should not affect the result of the test. If you are on any fertility medication which contain hCG, you may receive a false positive. Speak to your pharmacist or carer for more info. Clomid does not produce false positives for pregnancy tests, but it can on ovulation tests.

What Does a Positive Pregnancy Test Look Like?

A positive pregnancy test will show a control line that was present before you took the test (usually quite dark) and a second line will appear after the urine passes through the window. Some tests now have two individual windows where lines need to show in each window. Other tests are designed to have a cross to show a pregnant test, so they can vary – just read the packet to find out what to look for.

The positive result line does not have to be as dark as the control line, but if you have a second line appear during the time frame specified on the packet – no matter how dark or faint – then congratulations – you are pregnant!

When To Take A Pregnancy Test
 

What Does a Negative Pregnancy Test Look Like?

A negative pregnancy test will only display the original control line; nothing else will show up at all after the urine has passed through the window. Sometimes you can have a very faint line come up after the designated time frame specified on the packet – it will tell you to wait a certain amount of minutes to show a result. After this time, the test should be discarded.

When To Take A Pregnancy Test
 

If The Test Result Is Faint or Hard to Read, Does That Mean I Am Not Pregnant?

It’s normal for the result on the pregnancy test to be either fainter or darker than the control line. The reason it may be fainter could be due to less hCG in your urine, especially very early in your pregnancy. It may be darker if your pregnancy is more progressed. Occasionally the test may display a ‘shadow’ line when the positive result should be, disregard this if you cannot see it when holding the test at arms length away from you and test the next morning.

How Long Should The Test Take to Work?

The test result should be read from 5 minutes and no later than 10 minutes. If any lines do appear after 10 minutes, it is still a negative result and must be disregarded. If you read the test sooner than 5 minutes, it may also be inaccurate as it has not had enough time to work.

What If There Are No Lines Visible At All On The Pregnancy Test?

It is unlikely that this will happen, but if it does, disregard the test. It may be faulty or due to not enough urine on the absorbent pad, too much urine on the absorbent pad or the test was not held correctly in the stream of urine. Repeat the test, carefully following the instructions as in the above question on how to use the test.

Should I Repeat The Test and If So, When?

If the result of your test was negative and your period still hasn’t started after a few days, test again. You may have miscalculated your cycle dates and / or the hCG level may be too low to detect. If you still receive a negative result after the second test and still have no period, consult your doctor. Some women find that they do not get a positive result as soon as others and some have only been able to detect pregnancy with a blood test. Everyone is different; however if you are concerned, do see your doctor.

What Should I Do If I Am Pregnant?

You should start considering options for pre-natal care, be it a midwife, Obstetrician, GP or combined care if you haven’t already. If you wish to see an Obstetrician you will need a referral from your GP. Many midwives, birth centres and Obstetricians do book out very quickly these days so be sure to make researching your options a priority. BellyBelly has some articles to help, Who Cares? Choosing a Model of Maternity Care, and Public, Private, Birth Centre or Home?.

What Can I Do If I Am Trying To Get Pregnant But Haven’t Been Able To?

It is normal for a couple to conceive anytime in the first twelve months of trying. You can try charting your cycle or using ovulation prediction kits (OPK’s), which work in the same way as pregnancy test kits – by measuring hormone in your urine. They can help you to identify your most fertile period by detecting luteinizing hormone, which signals likely ovulation in the next 24-36 hours.

The BellyBelly Forums also offer great support for those trying to conceive over short and long periods of time, including assisted conception.

Where Can I Get More Help and Support?

BellyBelly has a section in the Forums dedicated to home pregnancy tests and ovulation prediction kits. You can read others questions or post your own in our pregnancy test discussion forum. Alternately you can call the advice line numbers found on most pregnancy test kit packets or their information leaflets.

 
Last Updated: July 22, 2015

CONTRIBUTOR

Kelly Winder is the creator of BellyBelly.com.au, a writer, doula (trained in 2005), and a mother of three awesome children. She's passionate about informing and educating fellow thinking parents and parents-to-be, especially about all the things she wishes she knew before she had her firstborn. Kelly is also passionate about travel, tea, travel, and animal rights and welfare. And travel.


38 comments

  1. I got my last period on 10th of jan.now its 4th of march n ave not received my period.I used a home pregnancy test twice n they both bought a negative results.should I still wait?

  2. I was supposed to get my period on march 7th or around that time…I am officially 9 days late…I’ve been late before (a couple of days) but never 9 days….I used a cheap 99¢ test and it came out negative…the only reason I used a cheap one is BC I did that with my first child…I still think I’m pregnant BC like I said I’ve never been this late…the only time I was thus late was when I was pregnant with my son…should I buy an expensive one or what?? I’m really not sure…

  3. I’m currently 5 days late for my period I’m to scared to do a test as if it’s comes negative I’ll get upset n I’m trying to have a baby atm what should I do

    1. Hi, I feel exactly how you are feeling. I am 7 days late, and no period, but too scared to take a test- as it’s so devastating when it appears negative.

  4. I started my period today, but I’ve been feeling very nauseous and tired for the past week. Should I take a pregnancy test or is that normal while being on your period.

  5. hello…im juliet 51 yrs old…my last period was on dec 15, 2014…i missed my period since january…ive tried pregnancy test kit at home 5 times and showed negative result…does it mean that im having my menopausal period?

  6. my last period was the 26th February 2015 and I was active with my partner between the 8th-12th of march. My next period was due 26th march but has not happened. Could I be pregnant and how soon should I take a test? I have been feeling nauseous, my breats are very sore and im fatigued.

  7. i had my marina out on 6th of March i then bled on 11th March. Is that my period date? We’ve been trying for a baby so that would mean I should’ve come in today? I’m so confused

  8. My last period was on the 25th of Jan. I bought a HPT and the second line was faint. Thanks for clearing things up!

  9. Hi iam 30yrs my last period was on the 4april 2015 and 2day is the 30april 2015 is it possible that I could be pregnant plz hlp tnx!!!!

  10. i had my period on 4 april and i was active on 28 april.. Feeling frequent urination problem. Can i be pregnant????

  11. I lost my baby March 19th.2015. He was almost 23 weeks.. I got my period on April 14th (lasted 2 weeks!) My husband and I were active in our relations during the 12-15 days.. I was suppose to start my period May 11th but haven’t started. I’m on day 33 today. Took a test but came back negetave . been feeling nauseated, breast are sore, and tired.. I do believe I’m pregamant.

  12. (Continued)..I do believe I’m pregnant.. Plus I’ve had to urinate more so. Probably going to wait to test again. If I am, I will be 5 weeks this Tuesday.. Hoping I am!

  13. my last period was on the 10th of may 2015. I had my ovulation around the 23 to 26 of the same month. my husband and I had sex on the 24, 25 of the same month. is it possible I can conceive? we have trying to have a baby. pls help us.

  14. Hi … I don’t know how to this … I was on the 2 month injection but my last injection was in march , I had my period for about 5 days in may just after the injection ran out and I haven’t had my period since then , I’m kind of worried. I don’t know if its the injection messing with my hormones or if I’m pregnant. I suffer from nausea everday and haven’t been able to sleep a wink lately, I also suffer from severe headaches and cramps. And everytime I take a pregnancy test its negative. Please help …

  15. Good day! Just to know more about because I don’t have now enough money to go to my ob again and I honestly want a baby really excited to have even 1 is enough for me just to express all of you guys that I want, trying and trying our best but still disappointed to have. My last period is June 2015 and. Until now I don’t have my period I’m a irregular but I don’t know what I will do now I tried to test but still negative, I’m so desperate please help me. I don’t know what I need to do or what we shoul need to do more to have a baby….so sad =(
    thanks so much, really appreciated if someone helps me.

  16. i am 25 year married women i had unprotected sex last month 24 -25 august .my periods last was on 6 August but i miss my periods for 10 days suddenly i got my periods but for 2-3 days it was little bit 4-6 days heavily and now its on 9 days bur still its going on is there is any problem suggest me i am planning for pregnancy.help me

  17. His condom with his semen inside it slipped off in my vagina. Am I pregnant?

    We did it last 09/26/15 which is 4 days before my period is due. He ejaculated inside the condom while he’s in me. But when he pulled out, he found out that the condom is not in him. So he checked my vagina and immediately put out the condom.

    Now 10/03/15, i am one day late 🙁 am i pregnant?

  18. The first day of my last period was Jan 12 and i am one day behind my next. My breast is too sore and i have unusual cravings for food. I tested negative yesterday. Is it possible that i might be having my baby? When is the best time to test again?

  19. 7 days after I ovulated I started to bleed very light But during that time my boyfriend and I had sex and the next day I started bleeding heavy it lasted 3 days I took a test while bleeding it came up negative. Should I take another test. Or keep trying to get pregnant

  20. i miss my period 6 days ago and i have taken 2 home test but it came out negative,do i go for a blood test or what should i do?

  21. ’m currently 5 days late for my period I’m to scared to do a test as if it’s comes negative I’ll get upset n I’m trying to have a baby atm what should I do

  22. Im miscarriage in 22/4/2016
    Lost baby in 26/4
    Stop bleeding in 8/5
    My peroid is no coming until know
    Is this normal ? Or pregnancy occure again ?
    Thnx

  23. Hi there
    I am 6 days late for my period
    I have abominal pains for the past 4 days
    I’ve taken 100 tests all negative
    I’m 29
    Healthy
    What should I do?

    1. I think you should speak to your doctor to find out the source of your pain. Try to get a referral to a women’s health specialist if you aren’t happy with the answer.

  24. Hey, I am young, I’m going into high school and I just needed some advice . I got off the Depo Shot in March. Me and My bf has been sexually active. I got my last period June 9th , 2016 . Im Ovulating on the days June 23 – 28 , tomorrows my last day for ovulation. Me and my bf had unprotected sex June 21st and June 27th . IM kscared that I might be pregnant, bwhen should I take a test is my number one quekstion ?? And what kind would be the best for me to take?? I always wanted to be a mom but I’m really scared, I don’t want to have numerous babydads when I’m older and idk if any guys would like me if I have a kid, should I get an abortion ?? I think I might regret it if I do. PlzzHelp Im ineed of advice , i just want to make the right choices .

  25. I had a little bleeding and i thought it was my period but after that there was no any. What can be the reason??

    1. If there is a chance you could be pregnant it could beimplantation bleeding. This usually occurs just before you would expect your period and rather than full flow, menstrual like bleeding, you would likely have some pink or brown spotting. If you feel you may be pregnant take a home pregnancy test or contact a doctor to find out what may be causing it.

  26. Hi there,
    My husband and I are new with this situation, we had unprotected sex on 11/07/2016 and my period is due on the 15. I could use advice when should I take the pregnancy test. How many days after my period due date? Or? Please help thanks 🙂

  27. Hello there. Im 36 yo trying to be pregnant for 7 years. My last period was july 2. I have a 26 to 28 days updated cycle. Its the second day i missed my period. Took hpt early this morning and it revealed negative. Does it mean im not pregnant? Thanks for the info. It is helpful.

  28. I got my last period Aug. 21st It is now Sept. 11th and I havent gotten it again. My cycle is every 14 days due to the Birth Control Pill. I did miss it 1 or 2 times but took it the next day double. Might I be pregnant? Should I test?

  29. My last period was on July 15… and have not had sex until August 6 and did it on a regular basis(once daily) for 9 days… I missed my period in August so I presumed that I am pregnant but so worried now because I am not feeling anything unusual or any symptoms at all so I decided to do the test today and it came out negative… What could this mean? Am I in menopausal period? Am only 36…. Is a test still reliable if I did it 1 month after I’m supposed to have my period? Should I do another test?

  30. pls I had my last period on d 22-25th of August…. I had protected sex on d 27th of August…. pls is there any possibility of being pregnant?

  31. Hi I have question, please reply. Me and my boyfriend did it on the exact day of my high fertility. But we didnt complete the whole procedure, he came outside me. And now i am late of my periods. Though generally also my periods come late but this time its been 8 days now.I have a schedule change in my work and more of stress, can that be a reason of late periods? I have pimples on my face (that never happened, even in puberty), feelimg nauseous, i dont feel like eating. Should i go for a pregnancy test? I am just scared, i dont want pregnancy for now(may be later) but not now

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